Two Heads Are Better Than One

Oct. 1, 2019

Struggling entrepreneurs worked together to make success happen 

How do two struggling business owners team up to go from zero dollar start up and thoughts of closing to double digit growth models and million-dollar sales? 

Josh Hurnblad grew up like many in the automotive business. He worked in his dads shop his entire life (20 years) and continued this after he met his amazing wife, Jeni. In the fall of 2012, Jeni really started to encourage Josh to open their own shop, in their own home town that they could grow together. After much research and discussion, they opened their first shop in January 2013. Jeni immediately left her business of running salons and spas to focus on their new automotive repair business. Josh brought over all the processes he learned from his dad’s shops in the customer experience, a POS program, and selling jobs. They started to run a good automotive shop over the years, but they were only doing $500,000 – $600,000 in those early years. During this time, Jeni took her knowledge of business and marketing and started a redirection for their service and marketing plans. First, she developed a marketing program that included websites, reviews, mailers and grassroots marketing. However, what really made a difference for huge referral and repeat business were the specials touches—like popcorn with a note left in customer’s cars, thank you notes, reminders and true customer experience that has a lasting impact in a very competitive market. 

Over the years, their sales plateaued, and Josh, wearing all hats, was frustrated with results and was ready to sell and move on to the next adventure in life. Jeni convinced Josh to take a more in-depth look at the business and they attended a WORLDPAC conference. This meeting was an eye-opening experience for them. They came back knowing they needed to hire a service manager (they promoted a current employee that deserved the job) to provide constant and consistent sales processes and service (no more running front and back of the house for Josh).

Next, they knew that they needed to properly price, do financials, parts markups and understand the business. They also realized they needed a real shop management program. They met with Chris Boshaw (the owner of Shop Boss) and decided that it was the best option for them. What they didn’t know was that Chris was trying to make ends meet, break into the shop software market, and put out the best cloud-based program possible. Over the next few years, Josh and Jeni fixed their labor rate, improved their margins and efficiencies, had all the right people in the right places, and improved their marketing plans with an integrated CRM program.  

A lot of the growth that Jeni and Josh experienced came from working with  Chris to develop a program that allowed them to really see what their numbers/profits were at all times, be able to text customers updates, work from anywhere (since it was cloud based), review tech hours and so much more. During these years, they developed a true partnership with Chris, who was building his business on customer service and aiming to be the best app on the market. Josh and Jeni were integral parts of the development of the program by talking to Chris daily regarding what exactly they needed the software to do so that they could be successful.

Flashback to 1997 when Chris left the dealership and IT support world to start building a shop software that solved many of the problems that today’s shop owners struggle with daily. For Chris, the dream began when he realized that all of the apps on the market were desktop programs designed many years ago and that the industry was ready for a move to the cloud. For six years Shop Boss had less than five employees, little revenue and no profit. But, he was dedicated to building this software for the shop owners and developed Shop Boss with their needs in mind. Jeni and Josh became an integral part of this solution with Jeni’s service, management and marketing background combined with Josh’s technical background.  

Today, Buellton Garage has had 36 percent growth in one year and is ready to open a second shop. Chris Boshaw now has more than 1200 shops using Shop Boss with triple digit growth year-over-year. Two businesses teamed up to help each other through the trenches to come out on the other side more successful than either imagined and developed a lifelong friendship along the way. 

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